How to Scan Glossy Pictures

By Julia Lai

To effectively scan a glossy photo, select the appropriate settings on both the scanner and the software that receives the digital image file. If possible, do not use feed-through scanners, or devices that incorporate a scanner as part of a printer or fax machine. Dedicated flatbed scanners produce the highest resolution and best color range for glossy photos. The glass on the scanner should never be touched with an abrasive surface, such as a dirty cloth or towel, to prevent damage to the integrity of the glass.

Step 1

Wipe the glass surface of the scanner with a soft cloth. Situate the glossy photograph face down on the glass. Line up the edges of the photograph with the edges of the glass so they are parallel.

Step 2

Select the "Glossy" setting from the scanner menu, as opposed to "Newsprint," "Matte" or any other format. Choose a pixel per inch (ppi) setting of 300 or higher for standard glossy photographs.

Step 3

Perform a sample scan by selecting the "Preview" function. Check the resolution of the image on the computer screen by zooming in on the selected area. Verify that the image is clear and discernable when viewed at a 100 percent size by using the zoom tool. Check for any streaks or blotches. Adjust the ppi setting if the photograph appears blurry; adjust the format setting if the photograph appears to have numerous reflective streaks or blotches from reflected light.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not rush the scanning process. Becoming familiar with the process, especially the speed at which the equipment works, and how minor adjustments can make the difference between an expertly scanned photograph and a poorly scanned one.
  • Do not scan a freshly printed glossy photo until it has had sufficient time to cool. A glossy photo that has been freshly printed may adhere to the scanner's glass surface, ruining the surface of both the scanner and the photo itself.